Quintana happy Alexei Ramirez was able to smack walk-off HR
BY TONI GINNETTI Staff Reporter April 13, 2014 6:32PM
Updated: April 13, 2014 10:24PM
One dominant left-hander in a rotation is a plus for any team.
Two dominant lefties is a luxury, and for some $59 million, the White Sox have All-Star Chris Sale, 25, and potential All-Star Jose Quintana, 25, in the fold until 2018.
‘‘The first thing is, they’re really good,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. ‘‘The fact that they’re left-handers is just the way they throw. You appreciate that, but they’re just good first.’’
For everything Sale already has become for the Sox, Quintana is the promise for more.
In his first full season last year, he led the Sox in starts with 33 and a .563 winning percentage (9-7) in 200 innings.
As good as those numbers were, he also set a franchise and American League record with 17 no-decisions — three short of the major-league record by Bert Blyleven in 1979 with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
He had 27 career no-decisions entering this season, including six games in which he pitched seven scoreless innings without getting a victory.
Quintana worked three games in 2012 of eight scoreless innings without a victory — a major-league first.
That history would figure to change this season as the Sox’ hitting — currently the best in the AL — returns to life.
But it didn’t Sunday.
The native of Colombia suffered his second no-decision of the young season despite allowing only five hits through six innings, two rain delays and a career-high 121 pitches.
That it still ended well for the Sox thanks to Alexei Ramirez’s walk-off two-run home run off John Axford was all that mattered to Quintana.
‘‘I feel good because we won,’’ he said of the Sox’ 4-3 victory. ‘‘I don’t have control over the decision in close games. Every game against the Indians is close, but we won, and that’s important for us.’’
The only run Quintana allowed was a Michael Brantley solo home run in the fourth.
The Sox scored only one run for Quintana off Indians starter Corey Kluber through six — stranding three runners in scoring position, including men at second and third in the sixth. But keeping it close counts for starters.
‘‘[Quintana] always gives us a chance to win,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘He battled today. He had a lot of pitches, but he was in control.’’
The game’s start was delayed one hour, 15 minutes because of rain, and it was interrupted for 45 minutes in the fourth because of another downpour.
‘‘[Quintana] was riding the bike and playing catch in the batting cage,’’ catcher Tyler Flowers said. ‘‘The guy’s a pretty good model of hard work.
‘‘I was a little worried after the first couple of pitches he threw [after the game resumed]. He gave up a single [with one out], but after that, he was right back at it.
‘‘He definitely had a good feel all day. There was the one mistake to Brantley, but I still liked his mind-set. He had gotten two quick outs before, so it was, ‘Let’s go right after this guy.’
‘‘It was typical Quintana.’’
The game was tied until the eighth, when Marcus Semien homered off Kluber, who also pitched a strong game. But Matt Lindstrom (1-1) gave up two unearned runs in the ninth after a Jose Abreu fielding error on a sloppy field and a wild pitch that allowed a run to score.
Ramirez’s second career walk-off homer bailed out Lindstrom.
‘‘You could tell there was a good environment there,’’ Ramirez said. ‘‘Everybody is pulling for each other. Hitters are doing the job. We felt like we could come back any time.’’